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By Dr. Eric Eisenman
Leaving for work in the morning can be so heartbreaking that some pet parents consider applying for jobs where you can bring your dog to work every day. Most of us can’t make the switch to a completely dog-friendly office environment, but there are a few steps you can take to see if your current office job can support a few “bring your dog to work days” each month. It’s worth a shot, right?
While we want to be around our pets all the time, it’s also important to consider your dog’s wellbeing when visiting new environments. If your dog gets anxious or nervous easily around people, it may be best to leave them at home. It’s also important that your dog is healthy and up-to-date on their shots because you don’t want your coworkers to catch any contagious illnesses that could be passed on to their own pets.
Whether you’ve found a job where you can bring your dog every day, or your workplace has designated “Bring Your Dog To Work” days, here are a few other key tips to keep in mind when bringing your dog to the office.
Even at jobs where you can bring your dog to work, there may be other employees that have allergies or phobias of dogs. Always be respectful and plan accordingly by letting coworkers know you’ll be bringing your pup in. If your office doesn’t already have rules about pet-free zones, it’s also polite to work with your coworkers on creating spaces that will be off-limits for your pet. Never force anyone to interact with your dog if they feel uncomfortable or afraid. For co-workers who are hesitant but not too scared, we recommend offering them dog treats they can keep at their desk to give to your dog. This can help ease their fears and make the experience fun.
No one likes a stinky co-worker, and if your dog is going to be joining the office, they should be well-groomed and office-ready. Make sure your dog looks (and smells) professional before they visit your workplace so they aren’t distracting your associates. Give their teeth a quick brush or a dental chew bone so their breath is nice and clean.
Even though jobs that allow dogs may not seem like a “day trip”, it’s important to make sure your dog is packed and prepared. Here are some essentials you may want to bring to the office:
Food and water, plus dishes
Being in a new environment can be overwhelming for dogs. Oftentimes, dogs may feel the urge to explore every nook and cranny, while others may feel intimidated by all the new people. Even at jobs where you can bring your dog regularly, it’s important to have an eye on your dog at all times. Be in control of any situation your dog may find themselves in. It’s best to keep them on a leash so they aren’t getting themselves into any unnecessary trouble!
Ensure that your workspace is a safe environment for your pet. If your workspace has exposed cables, cords, and wires, cover them up before you bring your dog to work so that they are protected from chewing. Make sure trash cans have lids, to prevent your dog from getting into toxic or hazardous items such as markers or staples.
You still have to get work done when you bring your pet to the office, but it’s necessary to make time for your dog so that they do not become stressed out in their new environment. Reassure your dog by taking regular breaks to give them attention. An occasional lap around the building or a little fetch during your lunch break will make your dog’s day—and frankly, that’s why you brought them in in the first place. Most importantly, make time for bathroom breaks so your dog doesn’t soil the office. Plan ahead for meetings and other work obligations so you can provide your dog with the attention they need to have a fun day at the office.
Ready to head to the office? Check in with a vet to make sure your pup is ready to go.